Yesterday evening I hosted the ski gang for a Come Dine With Me. After the last ski trip one of the group suggested it as a means of making sure we all met regularly throughout the year. This was the 4th meet up, and it was successful in it's objective because the next trip away is next month.
On arrival I had a few little nibbles - some crisps and my aunt's famous South African recipe, which is just Sweet Chilli sauce drizzled over Philadelphia served with Melba toast. Everyone absolutely adored this and said they were going to rob the recipe.
I am not ashamed to say that I used as many tricks and bought as much pre-prepped food as possible. I bought diced chicken (above) which really helped in the cooking process - I need to lightly fry all the chicken before placing in the slow cooker. For the salad for the starter (with fish cakes) I brought pre-packaged salad (green leaves and red/beetroot leaves) which just needed to be arranged on the plate.
I was nervous about doing rice for 7 people - my rice cooker is great for 2 but I've never done it for so many people. In order to get as fluffy as rice as possible I rinsed and washed the rice throughout the day.
These are the cherry tomatoes for the starter. Have you seen this hack for cutting them in half?
It worked really well.
For dessert I did a trio of mini desserts. For the lemon mousse I cheated and bought it in Marks and Spencers and piped it in to little glasses for a nice presentation. I had attempted baking brownies on Friday night but they didn't come out good so I bought some in starbucks on Saturday morning (one starbucks brownie cut into 4 little squares equals a mini dessert!)
Here is how I made the mini (and medium) size strawberry cream puffs
I cut them in half - put strawberry jam, strawberry and cream inside and sieved icing sugar on top.
How cute do the little mini ones look!
I couldn't have done it without these two guys. I felt very industrial with the big portions in both of them. The General Tso's chicken was the hit of the night and I will make it again no doubt - while labour intensive at the early stages (frying the chicken), once in the slow cooker there is no work at all, plus it is very easy when serving that evening.
We finished off the evening with some darts and snooker games (Killers) in the gamesroom.
All in all a really lovely night with a great group of friends.